Annal: 2002 Gold Dagger Award for Nonfiction

Results of the Dagger Award in the year 2002.

Book:Dead Men's Wages

Dead Men's Wages: The Secrets of a London Conman & His Family

Lilian Pizzichini

Part biography, part literary memoir, Dead Men’s Wages is, like Lorna Sage’s Bad Blood. “Scratch the surface of any family and you will find stories of intrigue, abuse and illegitimacy. It is just that, because of the nature of my grandfather’s business, our secrets are more sinister”.

Lilian Pizzichini’s grandfather was a conman who worked with some of London’s most notorious gangsters. Within the pages of this haunting and revealing account of his life, she re-creates, in vivid detail and with remarkable detachment, the world of criminals and corrupt policemen that he dominated until his death in 1978. This is a book to set the mind reeling with thoughts of cunning and intrigue, corruption, hardship and secrecy. Above all, it conveys the glamour and seduction of a London shrouded in mystery and this charismatic criminal who rose from its war-torn ashes.

Book:Anthony Blunt: His Lives

Anthony Blunt: His Lives

Miranda Carter

Once an untouchable member of England’s establishment—a world-famous art historian and a man knighted by the Queen of England—in a single stroke Anthony Blunt became an object of universal hatred when, in 1979, Margaret Thatcher exposed him as a Soviet spy.

In Anthony Blunt: His Lives, Miranda Carter shows how one man lived out opposing trends of his century—first as a rebel against his class, then as its epitome—and yet embodied a deeper paradox. In the 1920s, Blunt was a member of the Bloomsbury circle; in the 1930s he was a left-wing intellectual; in the 50s and 60s he became a camouflaged member of the Establishment. Until his treachery was made public, Blunt was a world-famous art historian, recognized for his ground-breaking work on Poussin, Italian art, and old master drawings; at the Courtauld Institute he trained a whole generation of academics and curators. And yet…[more]

Book:Town Without Pity

Town Without Pity: The Fight to Clear Stephen Downing of the Bakewell Murders

Don Hale, Marika Huns, Hamish McGregor

One man is trapped in a web of evil—the other is fighting to free him.

In 1973, a woman was brutally murdered in a graveyard in the picturesque market town of Bakewell. Stephen Downing, aged seventeen but with the mental age of eleven, was working as a gardener in the graveyard at the time. He was charged with the crime and served 27 years in prison. Six years ago, the editor of the local newspaper, a former professional footballer called Don Hale, began his own investigation into the murder. This is the story of how one man, fought tirelessly and courageously against powerful local interests and eventually forced the authorities to admit that they were punishing the wrong man.

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